Tuesday, September 2, 2014

[Mammalogy • 2014] A Taxonomic Revision of the Saki Monkeys Pithecia Desmarest, 1804

Sub-adult male White-faced Saki Pithecia pithecia Photo: Russell A. Mittermeier, Conservation International | IUCN.org

For more than 200 years, the taxonomy of Pithecia has been floating on the misunderstanding of a few species, in particular P. pithecia and P. monachus. In this revision, historical names and descriptions are addressed and original type material is examined. For every museum specimen, all location, collection, and museum data were recorded, and photographs and measurements of each skin, skull, mount, or fluid specimen were taken. The revision is based on work conducted in 36 museums in 28 cities from 17 countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Japan, resulting in the examination of 876 skins (including mounts and fluids), 690 skulls, and hundreds of photographs taken by the author and by colleagues in the field of living captive and wild sakis of all species, and through internet searches. Per this revision, there are 16 species of Pithecia: five currently recognized, three reinstated, three elevated from subspecies level, and five newly described.

Key Words: Pithecia, saki, taxonomy, revision, new species, P. pithecia, P. monachus

Male Buffy Saki Pithecia albicans
Photo: Russell A. Mittermeier, Conservation International

Equatorial saki, Pithecia aequatorialis (Hershkovitz, 1987) 
White-footed saki or Buffy saki, Pithecia albicans (Gray, 1860)
Cazuza's saki, Pithecia cazuzai Marsh, 2014 
Golden-faced saki, Pithecia chrysocephala (I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1850) 
Hairy saki, Pithecia hirsuta (Spix, 1823) 
Burnished saki, Pithecia inusta (Spix, 1823) 
Rio Tapajós saki or Gray's bald-faced saki, Pithecia irrorata (Gray, 1842) 
Isabel's saki, Pithecia isabela Marsh, 2014 
Monk saki, Pithecia monachus (É. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1812) 
Miller's saki, Pithecia milleri (J. A. Allen, 1914) 
Mittermeier's Tapajós saki, Pithecia mittermeieri Marsh, 2014 
Napo saki, Pithecia napensis (Lönnberg, 1938) 
White-faced saki, Pithecia pithecia (Linnaeus 1766) 
Pissinatti’s bald-faced saki, Pithecia pissinattii Marsh, 2014 
Rylands' bald-faced saki, Pithecia rylandsi Marsh, 2014 
Vanzolini's bald-faced saki, Pithecia vanzolinii (Hershkovitz, 1987) 

Mittermeier's Tapajos Saki Pithecia mittermeieri :: Ryland's Bold-faced Saki Pithecia rylandsi
Illustration: Stephen Nash, Conservation International 

Cazuza's saki, Pithecia cazuzai Marsh, 2014

Isabel's saki, Pithecia isabela Marsh, 2014

 Laura K. Marsh. 2014. A Taxonomic Revision of the Saki Monkeys, Pithecia Desmarest, 1804. Neotropical Primates. 21(1); 1-163.

Study describes five new species of Amazonian Saki Monkey
A major taxonomic revision of the saki monkeys (genus Pithecia) has revealed the existence of five new saki species.

Por más de 200 años, la taxonomía de Pithecia ha estado flotando en la confusión de unas pocas especies, en particular P. pithecia y P. monachus. En esta revisión, los nombres históricos y descripciones son abordadas y el material tipo original es examinado. Para cada espécimen de museo, todos los datos de localidad, colección y museo fueron registrados, y fotografías y medidas de cada piel, cráneo, montaje, o especímenes conservados en fluido fueron tomadas. La revisión está basada en trabajo llevado a cabo en 36 museos en 28 ciudades de 17 países en Norte América, Sur América, Europa, y Japón, resultando en la examinación de 876 pieles (incluyendo montajes y fluidos), 690 cráneos, y cientos de fotografías tomadas por la autora y por colegas en el campo, de individuos vivos en cautiverio o estado silvestre de todas las especies de Pithecia, y mediante búsquedas en internet. Con base en esta revisión, hay 16 especies de Pithecia: cinco actualmente conocidas, tres reclasificadas, tres elevadas del nivel de subespecie y cinco nuevas descritas. 
Palabras Clave: Pithecia, saki, taxonomía, revisión, nueva especie, P. pithecia, P. monachus

Sunday, August 31, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Limnonectes hikidai • Description of A New Species of Limnonectes (Dicroglossidae, Anura) from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo

Limnonectes hikidai 
Matsui & Nishikawa, 2014

A Southeast Asian dicroglossid frog, long known as Limnonectes laticeps, has recently been synonymized with L. khasianus. The Bornean population of this species is very divergent acoustically from some conspecific populations from the continent. Furthermore, in the mtDNA phylogeny, the Bornean population is nested in a clade with Bornean populations of the L. kuhlii complex, and not with the continental L. khasianus, which is close to L. tweediei and L. macrognathus. Because the Bornean population is also divergent morphologically from a continental population and the syntypes of Rana laticeps, we describe it as a new species.

 Masafumi Matsui and Kanto Nishikawa. 2014. Description of A New Species of Limnonectes from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo (Dicroglossidae, Anura). Current Herpetology. 33(2):135-147. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.5358/hsj.33.135

Friday, August 29, 2014

[Ichthyology • 2014] Macropharyngodon pakoko | Pakoko Wrasse • A New Species of Wrasse (Teleostei: Labridae) Endemic to the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

FIGURE 1. Male (top) and female (bottom) color patterns of Macropharyngodon pakoko:
top USNM 409153, 72 mm SL, male, holotype; bottom USNM 409154, 60.0 mm SL, female, paratype.
FIGURE 2. Radiograph of holotype of Macropharyngodon pakoko
FIGURE 4. Juvenile color patterns of: A Macropharyngodon pakoko, 35 mm SL,
 from Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia
Photographs by Jeffrey T. Williams.


A new species of wrasse, Macropharyngodon pakoko, is described from the Marquesas Islands, bringing the total number of species of the genus Macropharyngodon to 12. Macropharyngodon pakoko was found at depths from 0-42 m and is endemic to the Marquesas Islands. Macropharyngodon pakoko is similar to M. meleagris, which is widely distributed from the central and western Pacific to Cocos-Keeling in the Indian Ocean, but differs genetically and in several coloration characters: males with irregularly curved black humeral blotch with incomplete iridescent blue border; inverted irregular “U”- shaped band on the cheek; a small black spot at the upper base of the pectoral fin; and background color of the body greenish with faint bluish black spots on each scale. Females lack black pigment on the chest posterior to the ventral attachment of the gill membranes; reddish black blotches on the body are widely spaced, particularly on the head where they are more reddish and half the size of those on body; caudal fin with small, bright yellow spots arranged in narrow vertical bands with pale interspaces; pelvic fins pale with three reddish yellow cross-bands; a small black spot at the upper base of the pectoral fin; and small reddish spots along the base of the anal fin. Juveniles have irregular black blotches on the body, a small black spot instead of an ocellus posteriorly on the dorsal fin and lack large black spots and ocellus on the anal fin.

Keywords: wrasse, Macropharyngodon pakoko, French Polynesia, Marquesas Islands, endemic

Etymology: The specific epithet pakoko refers to the famous Marquesan warrior Pakoko, the last chieftain who led the Marquesan resistance to the French during his time (died in 1984). He is still celebrated in the Marquesas and an important figure in the community. The common name Pakoko Wrasse derives from the species epithet. The name is treated as a noun in apposition.

Delrieu-Trottin, Erwan, Jeffrey T. Williams & Serge Planes. 2014. Macropharyngodon pakoko, A New Species of Wrasse (Teleostei: Labridae) Endemic to the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia. Zootaxa. 3857(3): 433–443.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

[Crustacea • 2014] Geosesarma bintan & G. raj • Two New Species of Land-dwelling Crabs of the Genus Geosesarma De Man, 1892 (Brachyura: Thoracotremata: Sesarmidae) from Bintan Island, Indonesia

Fig. 4. Geosesarma raj, new species, holotype, male, 11.8 × 10.9 mm (MZB Cru 3814, ex ZRC 2007.0676), Bintan Island.
Colour in life (Photograph by: T. M. Leong).

 Specimens of land-dwelling sesarmid crabs from two localities in Bintan Island (Riau Archipelago, Indonesia) belong to two new species of the genus Geosesarma De Man, 1892, and are here described. One higher altitude species (Geosesarma raj, new species) is characterised by bright colours in life, elongated ambulatory legs and the absence of an exopodal flagellum on the third maxillipeds. A lowland species (Geosesarma bintan, new species) is characterised by duller coloration, proportionately shorter legs, and the presence of an exopodal flagellum on the third maxillipeds. The gonopod structures of both species are also diagnostic. The two new species are compared with their closest congeners from Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. With these two descriptions, 51 species are now known in Geosesarma.

Keywords: Taxonomy, morphology, fresh water, land, crabs, Sesarmidae, Bintan, Indonesia, Geosesarma

Christoph D. Schubart & Peter K. L. Ng. 2014. Two New Species of Land-dwelling Crabs of the Genus Geosesarma De Man, 1892 (Crustacea: Brachyura: Thoracotremata: Sesarmidae) from Bintan Island, Indonesia. Raffles. Bull. Zool. 62: 615–619.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

[Ornithology • 2014] Evolution of Sweet Taste Perception in Hummingbirds by Transformation of the Ancestral Umami Receptor

A ruby-throated hummingbird Archilochus colubris feeds on mimosa flowers.
Photograph by George Grall newswatch.nationalgeographic.com


Sensory systems define an animal's capacity for perception and can evolve to promote survival in new environmental niches. We have uncovered a noncanonical mechanism for sweet taste perception that evolved in hummingbirds since their divergence from insectivorous swifts, their closest relatives. We observed the widespread absence in birds of an essential subunit (T1R2) of the only known vertebrate sweet receptor, raising questions about how specialized nectar feeders such as hummingbirds sense sugars. Receptor expression studies revealed that the ancestral umami receptor (the T1R1-T1R3 heterodimer) was repurposed in hummingbirds to function as a carbohydrate receptor. Furthermore, the molecular recognition properties of T1R1-T1R3 guided taste behavior in captive and wild hummingbirds. We propose that changing taste receptor function enabled hummingbirds to perceive and use nectar, facilitating the massive radiation of hummingbird species.


 The makings of a powerful sweet tooth
The main attraction of nectar, a hummingbird favorite, is the sweet taste of sugar. Oddly, though, birds lack the main vertebrate receptor for sweet taste, TIR2. Baldwin et al. show that a related receptor, TIR1-T1R3, which generally controls savory taste in vertebrates, adapts in hummingbirds to detect sweet (see the Perspective by Jiang and Beauchamp). This repurposing probably allowed hummingbirds to specialize in nectar feeding and may have assisted the evolution of the many and varied hummingbird species seen today.

Maude W. Baldwin, Yasuka Toda, Tomoya Nakagita, Mary J. O'Connell, Kirk C. Klasing, Takumi Misaka, Scott V. Edwards and Stephen D. Liberles. 2014. Evolution of Sweet Taste Perception in Hummingbirds by Transformation of the Ancestral Umami Receptor. Science. 345(6199); 929-933. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1255097

Scientists Solve Mystery of How Hummingbirds Taste Sweetness
How hummingbirds evolved to detect sweetness

[Mollusca • 2014] ‘Charopalafargei • A New, presumed narrowly Endemic Species (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Charopidae) from Peninsular Malaysia

Charopalafargei spec. nov. is described. It is apparently restricted to the isolated limestone hill Gunung Kanthan in Peninsular Malaysia. The hill is scheduled for quarrying by the Lafarge Malaysia cement company, which has a high likelihood of resulting in the extinction of the species.

 Mohammad Effendi Marzuki and Jaap Jan Vermeulen. 2014. 'Charopa' lafargei (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Charopidae), A New, presumed narrowly Endemic Species from Peninsular Malaysia. Basteria. 78 (1-3): 31-34.

Friday, August 22, 2014

[Primate • 2014] Conservation Genetics of the Philippine Tarsier [Tarsius syrichta]: Cryptic Genetic Variation Restructures Conservation Priorities for an Island Archipelago Primate

Figure 1. Phylogeographic relationships of Tarsius syrichta (see Appendix S1 for taxonomic summary) estimated from a combined, partitioned, RAxML ML analysis of mitochondrial (12S, CytB, ND2) gene fragments. Black circles at nodes correspond to ML bootstraps ≥70% and Bayesian PP ≥95%.
Brown, et al. 2014 | doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104340.g001


Establishment of conservation priorities for primates is a particular concern in the island archipelagos of Southeast Asia, where rates of habitat destruction are among the highest in the world. Conservation programs require knowledge of taxonomic diversity to ensure success. The Philippine tarsier is a flagship species that promotes environmental awareness and a thriving ecotourism economy in the Philippines. However, assessment of its conservation status has been impeded by taxonomic uncertainty, a paucity of field studies, and a lack of vouchered specimens and genetic samples available for study in biodiversity repositories. Consequently, conservation priorities are unclear. In this study we use mitochondrial and nuclear DNA to empirically infer geographic partitioning of genetic variation and to identify evolutionarily distinct lineages for conservation action. The distribution of Philippine tarsier genetic diversity is neither congruent with expectations based on biogeographical patterns documented in other Philippine vertebrates, nor does it agree with the most recent Philippine tarsier taxonomic arrangement. We identify three principal evolutionary lineages that do not correspond to the currently recognized subspecies, highlight the discovery of a novel cryptic and range-restricted subcenter of genetic variation in an unanticipated part of the archipelago, and identify additional geographically structured genetic variation that should be the focus of future studies and conservation action. Conservation of this flagship species necessitates establishment of protected areas and targeted conservation programs within the range of each genetically distinct variant of the Philippine tarsier.

Figure 2. DISTRUCT visualization of STRUCTURE analyses (A) assigning individuals to major population groupings (genetically distinct evolutionary lineages) for Philippine tarsier demes (K = 2 and 3 populations).
Mindanao faunal region (B; see Fig. 1, inset) with sampling (17 sites, 66 individuals) labeled with letters corresponding to full localities listed in Appendix S2, protected areas shaded red. SplitsTree gene network (C; numbers at internodes = ML bootstrap replicates), and results of GMYC analyses (red asterisks denote lineages delineated by the Yule-coalescent), with numbers at tips corresponding to individual samples in Structure plots (A) and cluster shading corresponding to islands on map (B).

Rafe M. Brown, Jennifer A. Weghorst, Karen V. Olson, Mariano R. M. Duya, Anthony J. Barley, Melizar V. Duya, Myron Shekelle,Irene Neri-Arboleda, Jacob A. Esselstyn, Nathaniel J. Dominy, Perry S. Ong, Gillian L. Moritz, Adrian Luczon, Mae Lowe L. Diesmos, Arvin C. Diesmos and Cameron D. Siler. 2014. Conservation Genetics of the Philippine Tarsier: Cryptic Genetic Variation Restructures Conservation Priorities for an Island Archipelago Primate. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

[Mammalogy • 2014] The Reds and the Yellows: A Review of Asian Chrysopteron Jentink, 1910 (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae: Myotis)

Myotis (Chrysopteron) formosus

Chrysopteron Jentink, 1910 is 1 of the 7 subgenera of Myotis Kaup, 1829 recognized by Tate that traditionally comprises Asian and African species characterized by conspicuously parti-colored wing membranes. Definition of Myotis subgenera has long challenged taxonomists and prior to the present study the systematic status of numerous forms within Chrysopteron remained unclear. Following examination of material (including available type specimens) in 21 European, North American, and Asian collections, and using morphological (external, cranial, and dental characters) and genetic data, we evaluate the validity of the Chrysopteron subgenus, revise the taxonomy of the named Asian forms, and review their distinguishing characters, distribution, and taxonomic history. We argue that Chrysopteron is an available name for a monophyletic “Ethiopian clade” recovered with high support in our analyses, which comprises species characterized by striking reddish or yellowish dorsal fur that strongly differentiates them from congeners. We also determine that M. formosus sensu lato contains several morphologically distinct forms, some of which occur in sympatry and some in widely separated localities.
A morphological key is provided for all Asian species of Chrysopteron revealed by our study: M. bartelsi Jentink, 1910 (Java and Bali), M. formosus (Hodgson, 1835) (Afghanistan, India, Nepal, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam), M. hermani Thomas, 1923 (Sumatra, Thailand, and Malaysia), M. rufoniger (Tomes, 1858) (Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Laos, and Vietnam), M. rufopictus (Waterhouse, 1845) (Philippines), and M. weberi (Jentink, 1890) (Sulawesi).

Keywords: identification key, mouse-eared bats, phylogeny, systematics, taxonomy

Myotis formosus

Gábor Csorba, Cheng-Han Chou, Manuel Ruedi, Tamás Görföl, Masaharu Motokawa, Sigit Wiantoro, Vu Dinh Thong, Nguyen Truong Son, Liang-Kong Lin and Neil Furey. 2014. The Reds and the Yellows: A Review of Asian Chrysopteron Jentink, 1910 (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae: Myotis). Journal of Mammalogy. 95(4): 663-678. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1644/13-mamm-a-200

BUMRUNGSRI, S., D. L. HARRISON, C. SATASOOK, A. PRAJKUKJITR, S. THONG-AREE, AND P. J. J. BATES. 2006. A review of bat research in Thailand with eight new species records for the country. Acta Chiropterologica. 8:325–359.

[Herpetology • 2014] Boophis ankarafensis • A New Species of the Boophis rappiodes group (Anura, Mantellidae) from the Sahamalaza Peninsula, northwest Madagascar, with Acoustic Monitoring of its Nocturnal Calling

Boophis ankarafensis
Penny, Andreone, Crottini, Holderied, Rakotozafy, Schwitzer & Rosa, 2014

A new species of treefrog of the Boophis rappiodes group (Anura, Mantellidae) is described from the Sahamalaza – Iles Radama National Park in northwest Madagascar. This new species is green in colour with bright red speckling across its head and dorsum; similar in morphology to other species of this group including: B. bottae, B. rappiodes, B. erythrodactylus and B. tasymena. The new species can be distinguished by its advertisement call and by a genetic divergence of more than 4.9% in the analysed mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene fragment. Its call consists of two note types: a trill and a click; although similar sounding to B. bottae, the trill note of the new species has a faster pulse rate while the click note is predominantly two-pulsed rather than three. All individuals were detected from the banks of two streams in Ankarafa Forest. The new species represents the only member of the B. rappiodes group endemic to Madagascar’s western coast, with the majority of other members known from the eastern rainforest belt. Despite its conspicuous call, it has not been detected from other surveys of northwest Madagascar and it is likely to be a local endemic to the peninsula. The ranges of two other amphibian species also appear restricted to Sahamalaza, and so the area seems to support a high level of endemicity. Although occurring inside a National Park, this species is highly threatened by the continuing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat. Due to these threats it is proposed that this species should be classified as Critically Endangered according to the IUCN Red List criteria.

Keywords: Amphibia, Boophis ankarafensis sp. n., Sahamalaza – Iles Radama National Park, advertisement call, conservation

Figure 2. Life colouration of Boophis ankarafensis sp. n.:
A Rostral view of a male paratype (MRSN A6975) B Dorsal view of the same male
C Female specimen in resting position on a leaf (specimen not collected) D Dorso-lateral view of the holotype with day-time colouration (MRSN A6973).

 Etymology: The term ankarafensis is a specific epithet deriving from the species’ terra typica, the Ankarafa Forest. The name is used as an adjective in the nominative singular.
Holotype: MRSN A6973, adult male (Fig. 2D and Fig. 3D) collected at Ankarafa Forest (Sahamalaza Peninsula, north-western Madagascar), 14°22.85'S, 47°45.52'E; ca 140 m a.s.l., transitional forest, 26 January 2013, leg. G. M. Rosa.

Figure 3. Breeding activity of Boophis ankarafensis sp. n.:
A Paratype MRSN A6976 B–C Vocalising males sitting on leaves and on a branch (specimens not collected)
D Male holotype MRSN A6973 and female A6974 E Couple in axillary amplexus.

Samuel Penny, Franco Andreone, Angelica Crottini, Marc Holderied, Lovasoa Rakotozafy, Christoph Schwitzer and Gonçalo Rosa. 2014. A New Species of the Boophis rappiodes group (Anura, Mantellidae) from the Sahamalaza Peninsula, northwest Madagascar, with Acoustic Monitoring of its Nocturnal Calling activity. ZooKeys. 435: 111-132. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.435.7383

A new species of endemic treefrog from Madagascar

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Sound Communication and Social Behavior in an Amazonian River Turtle Podocnemis expansa

 adult Giant South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa.
The turtle is the largest member of the side-necked turtle family and grows up to nearly 3 feet in length.
photo: C. Ferrara/Wildlife Conservation Society

The social behavior of turtles during the nesting season can be attributed to a series of functions such as reducing predation, increasing hatchling survivorship, and information exchange between nesting females. However, the mechanism(s) used to remain in a group during the different phases of nesting behavior has yet to be explained. The objective of this study is to document the sounds produced by Giant South American River Turtle, Podocnemis expansa, during the nesting period, and identify how acoustic mechanisms might facilitate social behavior and group aggregation during this period. From September 2009 to October 2011, the sound repertoire of P. expansa was identified during the nesting period, which begins with the migration of the turtles from the flooded forests to the nesting beaches and terminates when the hatchlings emerge and the females migrate with the hatchlings to the flooded forests. Sounds were recorded when the turtles were active in different behavioral patterns (1) migrating; (2) aggregating in front of the nesting beaches before basking; (3) nesting at night; (4) waiting in the water without nesting or after they have nested; and (5) waiting for the arrival of the hatchlings. We observed six types of sound in the recordings of turtles made during the nesting period. These data indicate that this species is social, and that sound plays an important role in the synchronization of the activities of groups during the nesting season.

Keywords: Giant South American River Turtle, Migration, Nesting, Underwater vocalizations

Camila Rudge Ferrara, Richard C. Vogt, Renata S. Sousa-Lima, Bruno M.R. Tardio and Virginia Campos Diniz Bernardes. 2014. Sound Communication and Social Behavior in an Amazonian River Turtle (Podocnemis expansa). Herpetologica. 70(2):149- 156.
DOI: 10.1655/HERPETOLOGICA-D-13-00050R2

Scientists study 'talking' turtles in Brazilian Amazon
 Turtles are well known for their longevity and protective shells, but it turns out these reptiles use sound to stick together and care for young. Scientists working in the Brazilian Amazon have found that Giant South American river turtles actually use several different kinds of vocal communication to coordinate their social behaviors, including one used by female turtles to call to their newly hatched offspring in what is the first instance of recorded parental care in turtles.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

[Ichthyology • 2014] Esox aquitanicus | Aquitanian pike | brochet aquitain • Morphological and Molecular Evidence of Three Species of Pikes Esox spp. (Actinopterygii, Esocidae) in France, including the Description of A New Species

Fig. 3. Holotype of Esox aquitanicus MNHN 2013-1246, 372 mm SL,
coloration alive (a), and after fixation in formalin (b).

This integrative taxonomy study of French pikes compares morphological characters and molecular sequence data (mitochondrial COI and nuclear Plagl2 genes). In addition to the expected E. lucius, DNA sequences and morphology both support a new species in France, E. aquitanicus sp. nov. from the Charente to the Adour drainages. It is characterized by a color pattern of sides with narrow 1–1.5-scale-wide oblique vertical bands, conferring it a marbled coat, a snout only 0.9 times larger than the postorbital length, an anal fin basis 1.1–1.2 times larger than the caudal peduncle length, 101 to 121 lateral scales, 53 to 57 vertebrae, as well as 24 diagnostic sites in the COI gene and 3 in the Plagl2 gene. Partial COI sequences (131 bp) from modern and historical specimens indicate also the presence of E. cisalpinus and E. lucius during the 19th century in Lake Geneva. Morphological and molecular data points to a possible hybridization between E. lucius with both other local pike species, representing a risk for them. Their endangerment status should be evaluated rapidly in order to take conservation measures.

Keywords: Esox aquitanicus; Esox cisalpinus; New species; Integrative taxonomy; Cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1; Pleiomorphic adenoma gene-like 2; France

Etymology: The specific name aquitanicus is the adjective of Aquitania referring to the region of southwestern France, Aquitaine, where the species was discovered. For this reason, the vernacular name chosen is “Aquitanian pike” (“brochet aquitain” in French).

Gaël Pierre Julien Denysa, Agnès Dettaib, Henri Persatc, Mélyne Hautecœura and Philippe Keitha. 2014. Morphological and Molecular Evidence of Three Species of Pikes Esox spp. (Actinopterygii, Esocidae) in France, including the Description of A New Species [Évidence morphologique et moléculaire de trois espèces de brochets Esox spp. (Actinopterygii, Esocidae) en France, dont la description d’une nouvelle espèceComptes Rendus Biologies. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crvi.2014.07.002

Saturday, August 16, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Anatomy, Histology, and Systematic Implications of the Head Ornamentation in the Males of Four Species of Limnonectes (Anura: Dicroglossidae)

Figure 1. Appearance of caruncles in dorsal (top row), lateral (middle row), and frontal (bottom row) views of the four species of Limnonectes; Limnonectes dabanus (Smith, 1922), Limnonectes gyldenstolpei (Andersson, 1916), Limnonectes macrognathus (Boulenger, 1917), and Limnonectes plicatellus (Stoliczka, 1873)
Only the dorsal images are to scale. Scale bar: 1 cm. 

The males of four species of the Asian frog genus Limnonectes [Limnonectes dabanus (Smith, 1922a), Limnonectes gyldenstolpei (Andersson, 1916), Limnonectes macrognathus (Boulenger, 1917), and Limnonectes plicatellus (Stoliczka, 1873)] exhibit remarkable ornamentation in the form of a swollen, or cap-like, structure (caruncle) on the top of their heads. These caruncles vary in their appearance among species, and neither their function nor their actual systematic value is known. We compared their anatomy via dissections, morphometrics, radiography, and histology, and analysed the available mitochondrial DNA sequences as well as new data to place these species within the context of a larger phylogenetic hypothesis for Limnonectes. Despite the externally different morphology, the underlying histological structure is virtually identical. Beneath skin that is densely packed with mucous glands lies a pad of connective tissue overlaying the parietal bone. The actual function of the caruncle, however, remains enigmatic. In addition to the presence of the caruncle, independent evidence from osteological characters and molecular data support the monophyly of a clade comprising of L. dabanus, L. gyldenstolpei, L. macrognathus, and L. plicatellus. The caruncles are therefore interpreted as a robust autapomorphy for this clade, and suggest that the subgenus Elachyglossa should be restricted to the four species in question.

Keywords: Elachyglossa; functional morphology; integrative taxonomy; Limnonectes dabanus; Limnonectes gyldenstolpei; Limnonectes macrognathus; Limnonectes plicatellus; phylogeny; Ranoidea; Southeast Asia

Figure 2. Head of a male Limnonectes gyldenstolpei, mediosagittally split. The actual specimen is shown on the left, whereas the right-hand image shows the H&E stained surface of the corresponding view. Note the flap-like caudad curve of the posterior margin of the caruncle (ca).
 Abbreviations: br, brain; ca, caruncle; to, tongue. Scale bar: 1 cm. 

Figure 6. Simplified phylogram demonstrating the relationships among the caruncle-bearing Limnonectes, within the context of the genus Limnonectes and the Limnonectes kuhlii complex, based on a Bayesian analysis of 16S mtDNA sequences. Numbers above branches are Bayesian posterior probabilities.
  Fejervara limnocharis (Gravenhorst, 1829), Hoplobatrachus rugulosus (Wiegmann, 1834), and Occidozyga laevis (Günther, 1858) were used to root the tree (not shown).
DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12171

Markus Lambertz, Timo Hartmann, Shannon Walsh,  Peter Geissler and David S. McLeod. 2014. Anatomy, Histology, and Systematic Implications of the Head Ornamentation in the Males of Four Species of Limnonectes (Anura: Dicroglossidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.  DOI:  10.1111/zoj.12171